Who are we?
The West Lancs Cinema Organ Trust (WeLCOT) has been formed as a charity to preserve the Compton Cinema Organ, originally installed in the Grand Cinema, Lord Street, Southport in 1938.
The organ is a well travelled one!
After being removed from the cinema in the 1960’s, the organ spent some years in Cheetham Hill Methodist Church. When that building closed, it was re-installed in an organ studio at Darcy Lever outside Bolton. Then, after a few years, it moved again to an organ studio in Hyde. In 1985, it was moved to Chorley Town Hall, where for 20 years it played for concerts and dances. In 2006, Chorley Council decided that they no longer wanted an organ in their building, and the organ was once again on the move—this time to storage. WeLCOT are a group of enthusiasts who are working to return the organ to the Southport area, so that once again it can entertain audiences in West Lancashire.
What is a Cinema Organ?
In the early 1900’s, silent movies were accompanied by a pianist, or in larger cinemas, by a small orchestra. In these larger buildings, the cinema owner needed a musical instrument to cover for the orchestra when they took their break.
The sound of a cinema organ is made by organ pipes |
The cinema organ's keyboards |
There are real drums in a cinema organ
Cinema Organs were specially designed to mimic traditional orchestral instruments, and were installed throughout the country. When ‘talkies’ came along in 1929, the orchestras were disbanded, but the organs remained as a feature to play music during the intervals. The BBC used to broadcast music played on the cinema organ virtually every day. The most famous cinema organ is in Blackpool Tower, and is still used today to entertain the holiday-makers.
Where is the Compton Organ’s New Home to be?
The committee of the West Lancashire Cinema Organ Trust is working hard to save one of the area’s last cinema organs and give it a home back in West Lancashire. If you know of a sizeable hall that is looking to install an organ, please let us know! WeLCOT is looking forward to the time when this unique form of music can once again entertain local people.
Ballroom and Sequence Dancing
Since 2007, All Saints Hall in Hesketh Bank has been used to hold a monthly dance evening. However, organising these dance evenings takes up a lot of time, and the WeLCOT Committee has decided that it must now devote all of its time to finding a new permanent home for the Compton Organ. Therefore, FROM JUNE 2013, THE MONTHLY DANCES AT ALL SAINTS HALL HAVE CEASED. The Committee hopes it can hold some ‘special’ dances from time to time, and will be able to return to regular dances once the organ is playing in its final home.
For news about the organ, or to get involved with the project, please contact Andrew on 01772 812296